History of Petroleum Jelly

As you may have guessed, petroleum jelly gets its name from its place of origin.  In the late 1850s, the oil industry had begun to explode across the United States, and Pennsylvania was where many of the country's first oil rigs were built.  It was in northwestern PA, in a small town called Titusville (known as "The Birthplace of the Oil Industry), that petroleum jelly saw its first health use.

After the Seneca Oil Company opened its oil rig in Titusville, it made the process of whale hunting obsolete, obtaining oil from the rigs was faster and cheaper.  This was bad news for the people who's work was to distill the oil from whale blubber, as they were now out of a job.  One of these such workers, Robert Chesebrough, traveled to Titusville to check out the new oil rigs.

Something that the oil rig workers found very frustrating was the black "rod wax" that formed on the rigs.  It clogged up parts of the machines, and would cause them to malfunction or break prematurely.  However, they also quickly discovered a use for the rod wax- healing cuts on their skin.  The workers rubbed the rod wax on themselves to accelerate the healing process of cuts.  Robert Chesebrough observed this, and took a sample of the mysterious rod wax to experiment with.


Creation of Vaseline

Chesebrough refined the rod wax obtained from the oil rigs, and found that it created a light colored now similar to what you see and buy in stores across the country today.  He also put a patent on the refining process, and in 1859, he opened the Chesebrough Manufacturing Company in Brooklyn, New York.  It was not until 11 years later however, when he went around New York trying to sell his product, that he began calling it Vaseline as it is known today.

Originally, Vaseline was marketed as a sort of miracle healing product.  Chesebrough would go around attracting crowds of people, and then cut or burn himself, and apply Vaseline to the wound.  After that, he would show past wounds that he claimed had been healed completely because of his product.  And so, originally Vaseline was used as an all-purpose healing product for many different types of wounds.  Today, modern science has proven that it is not the ideal solution to every medical problem, but there are still many uses for Vaseline that hold true.

Confirmed Uses for Vaseline

(or other petroleum jelly)

Despite the fact that Vaseline is no longer seen as the ultimate healing tool, there are still many uses for it today, and it's a good product to have around.  Just a few of the uses for Vaseline include...

  1. Heals chapped lips- simply apply over your lips like you would a chapstick.
  2. Softens up elbows and knees- if they are rough and you want your skin to be more smooth, apply a layer of Vaseline before you go to bed every night.
  3. General, all-purpose moisturizer- Vaseline traps water and moisture in and around your skin.  And, contrary to popular belief, it does not clog pores.
  4. Longer lashes- apply to eyelasher before you go to sleep.
  5. Poison ivy- helps quicken the healing process, assuming you can resist scratching.
  6. General lubricant- no further details necessary.
  7. Makeup stain remover- apply a bit of Vaseline or other brand petroleum jelly to stains before you put them in the washer, and wash as they come out clean.
  8. Extend the life of perfume scent- wherever you normally spray perfume, spread some Vaseline in that area first.
  9. Fire-starter- apply to a flammable bit of kindling, such as dryer lint, and light it up.
  10. Ring remover- if you have a ring that just won't budge off your finger, apply a liberal amount of Vaseline to it and slide it right off.


Do You Have Any Petroleum Jelly Around the House?

Vaseline 100% Pure Petroleum Jelly 3.75 oz.
Amazon Price: $0.01 Buy Now
(price as of Sep 3, 2015)
Unlike many beauty products, petroleum jelly is incredibly inexpensive considering the many things that you can use it for.